Wednesday, January 23, 2008

It works!

Yesterday I started to uncable my 9900F scanner, with the intention of hauling it upstairs, so I could connect it to the old PC that I keep on the gallery. The scanner sits on top of an Ikea PC desk that has a sort of string bag arrangement at the back, to keep cables tidy. I fished the scanner's power supply out of the bag, and noticed the original USB cable that shipped with the scanner. So I thought, "let's have one last go at getting this thing going under Fusion", extracted the cable, resumed the VM, and plugged in the scanner. Viola! The VM of XP recognized the scanner immediately. I went "What the...?", put a greeting card that was handy on the platen and did a test scan. It worked. I unplugged the USB cable: it is completely unremarkable. I tried one of the USB cables that I was working with over the weekend, and it worked, as well! I do not understand how or why, but the scanner now appears to work perfectly under a VMware Fusion VM of Windows XP on top of Leopard.

I hate transient faults: they were one of the nightmares of my life when I still worked in technical support. If something suddenly starts working, and you don't know why, when it stops working again, you still have no idea how to fix it. I should have my new iMac by the weekend, and I plan to conduct some tests to see if I can reproduce the original fault. However, right now, it works. So I don't have to replace my scanner any time soon - I would like one that works natively under Leopard, but I can now wait until the various manufacturers sort themselves out (which they seem to be very slow to do. It looks as though they all updated their printer drivers for 10.5, and sort of overlooked scanners). I should point out that I require a flat bed scanner: many of the documents that I need to scan are old and fragile, and not suitable for running through a page feed. So until someone brings out a decent, reliable, flat bed scanner that is supported under Leopard, I shall wait. As Robert Heinlein wrote, "Never do today what you can put off till tomorrow if tomorrow might improve the odds".

And if you've got a scanner that won't work under Leopard, a license of Fusion may be a cheap way to keep it going until updated drivers are available.

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